Frank Santoro Process Post #2
Well, last night's experiment with different types of paper was a rousing success. The gray Rives BFK paper treated with digital ground approximates the look and feel of newsprint while still allowing crisper and more saturated colors. This is exactly what I was going for... plus, it means that I can use Rives BFK for this book, which is just about the most luxurious paper around. (Sure, there are fully handmade papers that are nicer, but no other mass-produced paper approximates BFK's soft face, uniformity, and workability.)
Here, you see the original newsprint comic in large format, with three tests on the right. The top is Rives BFK, the middle is Rives Heavyweight (which is actually lighter weight than BFK), and the bottom is Arches Aquarelle digital art paper. The Heavyweight paper is nice, but it is too cream/yellow colored, which oversaturates the colors. The Arches prints look great on their own, but next to the newsprint, it's clear that the white color is too vibrant for this project. While the BFK isn't exactly the same shade as the newsprint, the gray color cools off some of the eye-popping magenta tones, which will be especially important on the pages where this is the dominant color.
Here is the first full-size test print. I'll be printing the book on 13" x 19" sheets and then cutting them down to 11" x 17" since painting on digital ground can cause the edges to warp a little bit, which causes the print head to leave black trails around the edges. It didn't happen on the print above, but it's inevitable when working with these materials, so this way I'll be able to trim off the edges to clean up the prints before I glue them into the book. I'm so excited about the above print that I want to get Frank to sign it so I can frame it on its own. I'm not excited about individually treating 112 sheets with digital ground, but I know I won't be happy with the book otherwise. (Plus, this will be marginally cheaper than buying pre-treated paper, as long as you don't count the estimated 12-15 hours it will take as having any monetary value.)